Silver Bullet Defense!

Silver Bullets Again?

I wanted to talk about some of the talent we have on defense and how the Buckeyes’ new defensive staff will bring the most out of this talented young roster. This will be a two part article as I look at the linebackers and defensive backs.

Before I get into the staff’s new package and way of thinking defensively, I want to say something about our old “bend but don’t break” defensive package. While it was effective for many years, I think it’s just a little too passive with the development of College Football and all the spread offenses the past 5-10 years. With that being said, there is still a place for it, but that would be more for situational uses.

The one issue the Buckeyes could run into is not ensuring the defense has a true understanding of the scheme while keeping it as fresh in their minds as possible, which could turn into a nightmare. This is a good defense to play when the Buckeyes have a sizable lead that does not warrant the old “Pre-Vent defense” (which I absolutely loath).

Ohio State 4-3 Tight

Under the former defensive staff, our defense (attempted) to limit offenses with gadget plays or a breakdown in the scheme as their only options to move the ball. It was also easy to man up on receivers when you were giving such a cushion to the WR’s. The Buckeyes would just seek a big safety to play as the fifth defensive back, while removing a LB from the field.

That brings me to Coach Ash and his “Walkout Linebacker” role, which will be asked to do an awful lot. Finding this type of player to successfully play this position is going to take some serious evaluating and recruiting. This player must be linebacker sized and will be expected to step out and cover the slot receiver at times.

Needless to say, most linebackers do not excel in coverage, so again this will need to be a special player with speed. I mean if linebackers were that good in coverage, you would see the death of the nickel and dime packages as teams would never get out of their base defense. This position needs a new, much more “Badass” name….I think that would work right there as they will need to be one to be successful.

This could turn into a very big positive for the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail as well. How great of a selling point: if you become a Buckeye, you will be able to compete for the “Badass” position and stay on the field all three downs. If you think about NFL teams and what they are looking for, a “three-down linebacker” is one (see Seattle Seahawks).  That is really what it will take to be a high first round draft pick as a linebacker going forward; He must be able to cover as he will be expected to stay on the field for all three downs. Read More

One Fan’s Opinion: Defensive Dreams

Written April 29th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Mike checks back in with part two of his post-spring look at the Ohio State football team, getting defensive this time:

When asked to write about the Silver Bullets, I cannot express to you the level of excitement and overall outlook for our beloved Buckeyes that got me pumped for the passing of summer. This will be an improved and potentially dominating defense that will make us proud as fans.

As far as I am concerned it started with the addition of Chris Ash (DC) and Larry Johnson (DL). These coaches are difference makers at practice, game time and recruiting. The impact is already present as witnessed by over 61,000 Buckeye Fans at the Spring Game.

The scheme employed by Ash will be simple, yet aggressive in the back end of the defense. He will allow the players to use their instincts and athletic ability to make plays on a consistent basis. This will mean more press coverage and much less of the “Bend Don’t Break” mentality we have witnessed in the past.

With that being said I would like to highlight a few players that stand out to me in the secondary heading into fall:

  1. Doran Grant gets forgotten about at times with all the talented youth waiting in the wings. We need to remember this is a former 5 star recruit who is suited to be more physical at the line of scrimmage using his hands and size. I really think he has a big year and finally shows he is the player we recruited. He will also be counted on to be more of a leader this year as we have a lot of youth on the depth chart.
  2. Eli Apple/Gareon Conley will both play a lot this year, though it will be a dog fight to see who gets the starting nod if they can beat out (Armani Reeves), which I think happens by mid-season at the latest. Both players are taller cornerbacks (6’1) that are rangy with speed and good hips. One play during the Spring Game I seen Apple “lay the wood” to Corey Smith as he attempted to catch a pass over the middle making me realize what a good hitter he is as well. Conley covered very well and had his hands involved frequently. In a nut shell, if they both stay healthy and out of the dog house, the sky is the limit for both these young men!
  3. Vonn Bell if healthy is penciled in as one starter at Safety. He missed most of the spring with a torn MCL, and it’s being said he “should” be ready for fall camp which we need. He is fast, athletic, a strong tackler but most impressive is his Ball Hawking ability. He will be fun to watch.
  4. Cam Burrows is a 6’0 converted Cornerback that I think will be the other starting safety. He has good coverage skills and will also be able to be an enforcer up in the box when asked. I am really excited about his potential and cannot wait to see him live in action. The only area of concern right now is depth (especially with the Thompson transfer) but once the rest of this recruiting class arrives, we improve right away in that area. Erik Smith is the one kid who I think will be in the 2 deep almost as soon as he walks on campus and contribute!

I am very confident in our young players and Coach Ash’s ability to scheme and motivate. Once healthy, this unit is going to wreak havoc on opposing offenses in the passing game as well as run support. We will be a young secondary from day one but very solid and a group that will improve vastly as the season progresses.

The Linebacker group is the most concerning to me as a whole. Read More

Gareon Conley is a Buckeye!!!

Written December 7th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Mr. Conley

Urban Meyer’s staff continues to win, even during the offseason.

On Friday, it was announced that former Michigan verbal Gareon Conley has now committed to be a member of the 2013 Ohio State recruiting class. He visited over Thanksgiving for The Game, and has been on a “official” in Columbus since Wednesday night.

The Massilon Washington star committed to the Wolverines earlier in the year, but recently withdrew that, telling folks who follow scouting that he wanted to see other programs and make sure that he was making the right decision. Per TTUN’s protocol, a recruit visiting other programs meant that they did not consider him a part of their class- whether this meant that they were dropping him or just acknowledging the change in his status is subject for debate.

The 6’2″ DB/WR was also considering a visit to Oregon, but today’s news makes that highly unlikely.  He was ranked all over the boards by the various scounting services, with the highest being ESPN’s #9 defensive back.

He has been rated as a four star recruit, and will be participating in the Under Armour game this year. You can check out his junior highlights after the jump. Read More

Bye Week Recruiting Special Part 1: 2013 Class

Written November 8th, 2012 by Joe Laing

Quick

With the season winding down and it being a bye week, we figured it would be a good time to preview the targets for the next 3 months leading up to signing day, as well as look into our magic 8 ball for 2014.  In the first part of this 2 part series we will take a look at 2013 class.

With 17 verbals already in the bag already we will take a look at the guys that we will likely finish with to get to a top 5 class.  WR, OL, LB, and DB appear to be the positions we are targeting- Keeping in mind as we sift through the rest of this article that recruiting is very fluid so the most likely targets could change even by the time this article is published.

At the WR position James Quick and Shelton Gibson are the two most likely targets at this point; they are very different receivers but both high in talent.  Quick is the higher rated of the two by most services, and he’s down to OSU and Louisville.  This recruitment is really dependent on Charlie Strong and his coaching career.

Gibson seems to be a Buckeye as long as everything lines up off the field.  Other names are still on the board but we will turn our focus to them if anything changes and there is reason for excitement.

One big name is still left on the OL big board;  one time PSU commit  Dorian Johnson,  who will be back in town for Michigan game on an unofficial visit, and back in December for an official.  It certainly looks like we made up lots of ground on his visit for the Nebraska game.

Also, although it’s just a teaser at the moment but one time OL commit David Dawson maybe back on the market and one to keep an eye on if he truly does want to stay close to home and Michigan doesn’t let him back in. Read More

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